Players and officials of Markmentors, former champions of DStv Men's Premier Basketball League, yesterday, narrowly escaped death by the whiskers after they were attacked by angry fans during a match with Niger Potters in Minna, the Niger State capital.
DAILY POST gathered that the Otukpo lads were leading the host team 48 to 42 when the visibly angry and disappointed fans descended on their cameraman, Jimoh Momoh and threw him off the spectators' stand at the College of Education, Minna.
A source hinted our reporter that the fans reportedly launched the attack on the players just six seconds to the end of 3rd quarters during free throw in favour of Markmentors.
He said, "Fans of Niger Potters who were sent off the court decided to unleash their anger and frustration on the Markmentors camera man by beating him and collecting his camera. They threw him off the spectators' stand and he was critically injured."
The source added that the Markmentors players were later visited with rain of bottles from the angry fans when they tried to rescue their camera man; two of the players were later rushed to the hospital with deep head injuries.
Those injured in the attack were identified as Jimoh Momoh, Emmanuel Ndibe and Okuongbae Osarhiemen.
Confirming the incident to our report, Markmentors Coach, Adeka Daudu said the injured players were currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, the Chairman of Markmentors Basketball Team, Igoche Mark condemned in totality the incident, describing it as very unfortunate.
He said, "In a basketball match like every other sports, you either win or lose. If you win, super and if otherwise, accept your fate and bow out gallantly. Learn from your mistakes and prepare for your next game. I fear for the future of basketball in Nigeria if we start entertaining this kind of attitude that we must win all home matches."
Mr. Igoche, who wondered why basketball game should be turned into a win or die affairs, said, "I rather pull my team out of the NBBF league than risk the lives of any of my players or officials."
"This is supposed to be a basketball game and not boxing or wrestling. This is really sad, I must confess. Up till now, we are yet to even receive a call from officials of the host team after the attack. It is a bad omen to the basketball community and it should be condemned in its totality. In as much as we love this game so much, in as much as we are trying so hard to promote, encourage and build the game in Nigeria, we would not want to risk the lives of promising youths to some unpatriotic elements," Igoche added.
He called on the Nigerian Basketball Federation to deal with this issue appropriately without bias, re-emphasizing that, Markmentors will pull out of the Kwese sponsored NBBF League if the culprits go scot free.
Meanwhile, a text message to the Niger State Police Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana was not replied at the time of this report, just as efforts to reach the Niger Potters Coach Ishaq Yahaya could not yield any result at the time of this report.